Government introduces a new Points Based Immigration System, for 2021

Government introduces a new Points Based Immigration System, for 2021

Background:

The United Kingdom (UK) exited the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020. The Government are ending free movement and will introduce an Immigration Bill to bring in a new points-based system.

From 1 January 2021, EU and non-EU citizens will be treated equally.

Salary and skills thresholds
  • The general salary threshold will be lowered from £30,000 to £25,600.
  • Migrants will still need to be paid the higher of the specific salary threshold for their occupation, known as the ‘going rate’, and the general salary threshold.
  • Applicants will be able to ‘trade’ characteristics such as their specific job offer and qualifications against a lower salary.
  • There will continue to be different arrangements for a small number of occupations where the salary threshold will be based on published pay scales.
  • New entrant salary will be 30% lower than the rate for experienced workers in any occupation
  • The skills threshold will be reduced from RQF6 to RQF3.
  • The cap on the number of people who can come on the skilled worker route will be removed
  • The resident labour market test will be removed.
Skilled workers
  • All applicants, both EU and non-EU citizens, will need to demonstrate that they have a job offer from an approved sponsor, that the job offer is at the required skill level, and that they speak English.
  • If the applicant earns more than the minimum salary threshold then the individual would be eligible to make an application. However, if they earn less than the required minimum salary threshold, but no less than £20,480, they may still be able to come if they can demonstrate that they have a job offer in a specific shortage occupation. In effect, applicants will be able to ‘trade’ characteristics such as their specific job offer and qualifications against a salary lower than the minimum salary or the ‘going rate’ in their field.


Characteristics Tradeable Points
Offer of job by approved sponsorNo20
Job at appropriate skill levelNo20
Speaks English at required levelNo10
Salary of £20,480 (minimum) – £23,039Yes0
Salary of £23,040 – £25,599Yes10
Salary of £25,600 or aboveYes20
Job in a shortage occupation (as designated by the MAC)Yes20
Education qualification: PhD in subject relevant to the jobYes10
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the jobYes20


  • For example, a university researcher in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subject wishing to come to the UK on a salary of £22,000, (which is below the general minimum salary threshold), may still be able to enter the UK if they have a relevant PhD in a STEM subject. Likewise, a nurse wishing to come to the UK on a salary of £22,000 would still be able to enter the UK on the basis that the individual would be working in a shortage occupation, provided it continues to be designated in shortage by the MAC.
  • The Home Office will publish further detail on the points-based system in due course, including detailed guidance regarding the points tables, shortage occupations and qualifications. As now, skilled workers will be able to be accompanied by their dependants.
  • The scheme will be implemented from January 2021.
The visa process
  • People coming to the UK from any country in the world for the purpose of work or study, other than some short-term business visitors and short-term students, will need to obtain a visa for which they will pay a fee.
  • The Immigration Skills Surcharge for employers and the Immigration Health Surcharge will continue.

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